Mayor Bill de Blasio has set aside $70 million in his latest budget for a new NYPD precinct in southeast Queens — welcome news for borough politicians and residents after years spent lobbying for such a project.
It wasn’t clear Tuesday when construction will start on the new precinct — the 116th — or its location. When it’s finished, the NYPD station house will cover several Queens neighborhoods, including Laurelton, Springfield Gardens and Brookville.
The precinct will be carved out of the existing territory of the 105 Precinct. The 105th currently covers nearly 13 square miles of eastern Queens, making it the largest police precinct in the city. It extends from the Grand Central Parkway to the north, Springfield and Francis Lewis boulevards to the west, Kennedy Airport to the south and Nassau County on the east.
A satellite office of the 105th Precinct is located at 242-20 North Conduit Ave. in Rosedale, just north of JFK Airport and directly west of Valley Stream in Nassau County. The main station house is in Queens Village a bit more than five miles north of the satellite office.
Building the 116th Precinct will provide much-needed NYPD coverage of the southeastern section of Queens and bring more cops into several communities, said Borough President Melinda Katz, a longtime proponent of building another station house in the area.
The large area encompassing the 105th Precinct “has posed significant geographical challenges that make it difficult to serve neighborhoods in the southern half of its jurisdiction,” Katz said in a statement.
Katz had included a proposal for the new precinct in her 2014 borough strategic policy statement and said she had discussed the idea with NYPD Commissioner William Bratton in December. She noted that similar requests were made during the Bloomberg administration. The large territory covered by the current 105th Precinct meant patrol cars would typically log over 1,000 miles a week traveling to its far reaching southern boundaries, Katz has previously said.
Even with the satellite office in Rosedale, Katz said in her 2014 strategic report, there hasn’t been enough police presence in southeast Queens to deter criminals from crisscrossing the border with Nassau County to “obfuscate law enforcement.”
The area expected to encompass the 116th provides quick access to the Belt and Southern State parkways, and the Sunrise Highway. There is also a LIRR station in Rosedale. All provide potentially easy routes for fleeing criminals to escape fast, which Katz and others hope the new precinct will choke off.
According to the latest NYPD crime data, serious crime has been low this year in the 105th Precinct. There have been no murders in 2016, compared to four in the same period last year. All serious crimes are down by about 1 percent. Shootings have increased to four this year from three in 2015.